There’s cost associated with preparing and getting cremation urns for ashes, and Kiwis might have to deal with more of those costs, as a recent proposal was presented in the country; a $200 fee for the cremation of ‘oversized’ caskets. Notably, a funeral industry body in the country stated that this proposal is likely to pass.
According to a report prepared for the Hasting District Council stated that cremating oversized caskets, which are defined as any caskets over 150kg in weight, take twice as long to get cremated and prepped for cremation urns for ashes as their standard brethren. The report notes that standard cremations take about two-and-a-half hours, while an oversized one can take an additional 2 hours, maybe 3.
The increase maintenance that stems from the additional process time, the report says that the proposed fee was necessary in order to compensate, also noting that Hasting’s basic fee of $600 was on the lower end compared to the other councils in New Zealand. Additionally, the report states that Hasting’s fees has not seen any increase ever since 2012.
According to Chairperson Shelley Angus, New Zealand Cemeteries, and Crematoria Collective, Hastings is the first council openly considering at charging fee for oversized caskets. She notes that, if Hastings wasn’t looking at it, some other council, some other local authority would be, because the population of New Zealand is growing.
Ms. Angus states that New Zealanders have become fatter and taller than before, and acquiring, operating and maintaining larger cremators is expensive. She notes that most cemeteries that run cremations tend to lose money over it, and that the real costs was more than what Hastings saw.
Currently, it’s expected that only a small number of cremations in New Zealand fall into the oversized category; for Hastings, it accounted for about 3-4% of annual cremations, but Ms. Angus noted that the figure is different in other parts of New Zealand, and it was on the rise.
She says that many operators in the industry are already charging more for larger caskets, and this proposed fee for oversized caskets was only the logical progression.